Date of Degree

10-2014

Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Au.D.

Program

Audiology

Advisor

Shlomo Silman

Advisor

John Preece

Subject Categories

Speech Pathology and Audiology

Abstract

A binaural advantage has been described in many studies over the past fifty years, although research also has demonstrated examples of a disadvantage known as binaural interference. The literature varies greatly in suggesting the incidence of binaural interference across all populations. It also raises questions about the underlying causes of this phenomenon, as well as whether age-related changes have an impact.

A systematic review was engaged to summarize the literature associated with binaural interference, to identify clinical implications of this body of literature, and to answer two research questions:

1) Does the literature describe changes in susceptibility to binaural interference with age?

and

2) Does evidence suggest whether binaural interference is a central or a peripheral mechanism?

The Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition, MEDLINE and PsycINFO databases were searched, and the identified articles and reference lists were scrutinized to identify a total of 18 articles relevant to this review. With respect to the aforementioned research questions, the literature does not help to clearly determine whether binaural interference is a by-product of aging; however, the identified studies suggest increasing evidence of binaural interference as a central mechanism. The literature described in this systematic review helps to further illustrate clinical implications of binaural interference, including behavioral and electrophysiological assessment measures, as well as rehabilitative techniques. Additionally, the reviewed studies reveal many avenues for future research.

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